Start: Top Lock 42, Couchiching, ON Canada, 0915
End: Dock at top of the BIG CHUTE! 1329
Total Distance: 19.9 nm
Average Speed: 4.6
Number of Locks: 2 (42 and the biggest on the waterway, 43).
Number of dog treats: Zero. But we were only at two locks, he got one at 42 the previous night and 43 was HUGE!
Be careful what you wish for. For weeks we have been commenting (some would call it complaining) about the amount of rain, leading to excessive water, which increased the flow of the rivers and the current against us as we pushed up the rivers to Balsam lake, the high point of the Trent-Severn Waterway. And we have been looking forward to going with the current dreaming of getting one to two miles per hour added to our bottom line during the day. And yesterday was living that dream. Big lakes offset by some streams and canals on which we chugged along at 6-7 mph. Heady stuff for our sailing catamaran.
This morning we arose late, showered at a lock that had an actual shower on site (for $3/CAN per person) and were waiting at 9am for the lock to open and send us down. The plan was to head to an anchorage or go all the way to the Big Chute, weather dependent. There were clouds in the morning when we awoke and anchoring in cold, cloudy and windy did not seem like fun so we made the call to head to the Big Chute.
On the way down the lock, the lock master said that he would call to the swing bridge so it would be ready for us. We dropped down and were out. Endeavor was ahead of us this morning and the two of us would spend the day together.
We chugged along the river at 6mph engines not working hard. We came to a bend in the river and a sign that said sound horn for bridge, around the corner and there was the bridge. Closed.
No big deal. Happens all the time. I see that Endeavor has slowed dramatically so I drop the engines into low. And then neutral. And realize that our speed is not slowing. Like at all. And I’m barreling at Endeavor and the closed bridge at a greater rate of speed than I’ve seen in a month. The river had closed up to a narrow channel for the bridge and all the water was chugging merrily along, just like I dreamed. Except this dream was no bueno. I simultaneously dropped both the engine in reverse and a load in my pants and held on for the 30 seconds (lifetimes) it took for the bridge to open. And we made it through. So this going down river thing is probably going to suck. Let’s see how bad.
Looking at our charts we noticed that there were three areas where the river becomes narrow and the chart is marked rapids ahead. Rapids. Oh joy. We putter along and before too long we come to the first of the three. The river narrows, waves are kicked up and our speed goes from 5 mph up to close to (and exceeding) 10 mph. We are bouncing up and down. Spray is flying over the deck. Moby Dick broached underneath us sending us careening towards the rocks!
I exaggerate a bit. But the current was swift, we did go very fast and at some point my sphincter got so tight, I sucked part of my captains chair up into my arse. Be careful what you ask for.
We made it to and through the next lock just fine and ended up at the Big Chute at 1:30, which gave us lots of time to look around and see how our boat was going to be plucked out of the water onto a train car and carried up and over land and a road and then back down a hill into the water on the other side. That story tomorrow….